Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scene from a back road to Las Vegas

White Zeppelin

The 2008 White Zeppelin, a blend of 83+%Viognier with Roussanne Grenache Blanc, and Picpoul Blanc, is ready for bottling. But the label is not designed yet; as there are more people involved in the process than usual, and they are never all in the same room, it's draggin' on and on. Here is Version VI, it's not there for me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wine bar joke

So this guy walks into a wine bar, and says “How about a nice White Zin?” The bartender, who is moonlighting as a sommelier (or is it the other way around?) offers him a dry Rosé, and lets him try a sip to see if he likes it. Well, the guy doesn’t like it, or the next wine, or the next one. Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, he hates ’em all. There’s a line of glasses on the bar in front of him with a little bit in each one. So what does the guy do? He pours them all into one glass and drinks it off. “Now that’s what I call wine,” he says, “I’d like a full bottle, please!”
The sommelier gives him a long look, and then reaches under the bar and presses a button. Out of the back room steps a huge man with hands the size of Grenache clusters. The sommelier points his finger at the door and says, “Wilhelm . . . show this gentleman a nice Yellow Cab.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The origin of the "Red Zeppelin" name.

My first Red Zeppelin wine was released in 1991, as I have noted in my previous post on the "False Zeppelin." The name is indeed a pun on the rock band, but it only arrived in my brain after a jetstream of consciousness derailed my train of thought (ha!) about another wine label. Many people seem to think that Bonny Doon was the first California winery to have silly labels. (In fact, Thomas Kruse in neighboring Gilroy was first.) The now-famous label above, first used on a 1984 California Rhone blend, wittily if a bit preciously relates the tale of the village of Chateauneuf du Pape's 1953 ordinance banning the landing of UFOs in local vineyards, the purported result of a cigar-shaped "flying saucer" scare. As something of a skeptic in these matters (I'll relate my Roswell tale another time) I considered the tale, and it seemed to me that the stereotypically excitable Frenchmen were suffering from postwar stress syndrome; indeed, unconsciously recalling an incident from the Great War. The Germans used rigid airships extensively in WW1, though the technology wasn't up to the mission. One large Zeppelin raid on London was hit by unexpected high winds (perhaps the then-undiscovered jetstream) that blew the dirigibles astray; some crashed in France, one was never found. The crash of a huge airship, filled with hydrogen gas and containing toxic metals, into a valuable vineyard just before harvest would be terrible indeed: explosions, mangled vines and twisted wreckage, the Germans stuffing their faces with Grenache . . . . I saw it all clearly, as through an overfined Marsanne. And then the name came to me: Red Zeppelin. As I was already interested in adding Rhone varietals to our lineup at Jory Winery, I knew I had the name for my new wine. As for the label design, Rick Tharp and I thought we would have a little fun; but that's a tale for later.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wine goddesses shocked by Stillman's decrepit pedicure! Since remedied.

Some of my favorite Pinot Noirs from WOP.

2006 Tudor Balo Vyd, 92
2007 Kosta Browne - all 90+, the Amber Hill is maybe a 94.
2006 Skewis Bush Vyd, 91
2007 Nautilus (Kiwi), 91+
2007 Saintsbury Toyon, 93?
2006 Paraiso West Terrace, Smith vyd. 92
2006 Morgan Double L, 92.
2006 Pillow Road, 86
2006 Calcareous York Mtn, 88. 32 proof!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Looking for California

On a dark desert highway, why the grafitti? I had a fabulous time and made fabulous new contacts hanging out with my fabulous friends in fabulous Las Vegas, but I loved the drive home alone. Alone: in bad company, as my cousin Ambrose wrote.
Here, the Providence Mountains, with unprovidential foreground.

Parched, sir, simply parched; the Kelso Dunes. Is there a wine bar nearby, at the infamous hotel?

Band practice

Band practice